Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Filing For Divorce Before Your Spouse: Why It Is Important

There are a number of advantages to be had from filing for divorce before your spouse.

A Clear Point for an “Irretrievable Breakdown”of the Marriage is Established

By filing first, a clear point for a marriage’s irretrievable breakdown is established. Showing an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is necessary to obtain a “no-fault” divorce. An early filing date protects you if you think your spouse will try to unfairly hide, spend, or transfer marital assets. An early filing can also protect you from debt your spouse may create in order to punish you. The earlier you file your divorce petition, the less time you give your spouse to unfairly hide money. Headaches from such situations can be lessened, simply by getting to the courthouse before your spouse.

Filing First Shows Your Strength and Commitment to the Divorce Action

Filing first is a proactive step in taking control of your divorce, as well as the rest of your life. By filing first, you announce to your spouse and her attorney that you are prepared and determined to deal with the divorce, rather than allowing it to catch you by surprise and steamrolling over you.  By presenting a strong, confident legal team, consisting of yourself and your attorney, you can deter your spouse from utilizing spiteful, silly strategies later in the divorce action.

Filing First Allows You to Dismiss the Case Easily if You Change Your Mind

Whoever files the divorce action first in the court is known as the “petitioner.” Your spouse will be known as the “respondent.” The petitioner has the option of voluntarily dismissing the action if they desire to do so, while the respondent does not have this option. This option is excellent if your bargaining power is much lower than you expected. While you would have to start the action over, a fresh start is better than a disastrous conclusion by the first court. Because your spouse does not have this option, if the case looks like it will not turn out in their favor, there is nothing they can do; they are stuck.

By Filing First, You Present Your Arguments to the Court First

If the case goes to court, as the petitioner, your attorney presents your evidence and arguments first. First impressions are important. By presenting your case first to the judge, the judge will have your argument in his mind and you will create an uphill battle for your spouse to defeat your argument. Also, presenting evidence is a useful tactic for asserting your case’s strength to your spouse and can encourage them to seek a settlement.

You are in Control

Once again, filing first for divorce is a proactive step in taking control of your own divorce. You control the timing of notifying your spouse, by instructing your attorney about the timeline upon which you would like your divorce to progress. You can adequately prepare for the fallout from this difficult time in your life when you are controlling its timing and when your divorce is not simply happening to you.

If you are considering filing for divorce, please contact George Pecherek and Associates today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.

George Pecherek & Associates, P.C.

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